5 Tips that Helped Me Graduate College Debt Free

DebtFreePicGraduating college is not easy.  But graduating debt free is an even greater feat to accomplish.  I knew that when I signed up for my first course.  However, as daunting as it all seemed, I trucked along determined to not only complete college, but to complete it without debt.

You can graduate college debt free too, but you have to want it.  You also have to be willing to make sacrifices that are not always pleasant and not always ideal.  Below I have included five techniques that I implemented that helped me to achieve my goals with success. 

If you are strict and you follow these tips you can be on your way to graduating college debt free too!

1. Go to a community college!  That’s right.  It isn’t always the appealing choice, but it is much easier on your wallet.  I didn’t know what I wanted to major in when I first stepped through the doors of my college and chances are, neither do you.  So, why waste valuable money on a university when you can get your gen-eds out of the way at a fraction of the cost?  Sign up for those required courses and put the extra money you would have spent away in a savings account!

2. Apply for scholarships.  This is extremely important!  If there was free money floating around would you grab it?  Well, scholarships are the equivalent.   They are free money.  All you have to do is put some time and effort into the applications and submit, submit, submit.  They have scholarships for people who are left handed, who are Native American and probably for people who play the trombone.  Seriously.  They have them for everyone. 

3. Live with your parents.  I know, you are thinking how lame that is.  Well, I did, and I’m debt free.  Not so lame anymore, huh?  They didn’t charge me rent and they didn’t charge me for food either.  I saved over $1000 a month doing this.  I recommend you do the same if this is an option.  It was a huge financial relief.

4. Get a job!  I worked throughout my entire college career and was able to pay for my books, extra supply costs, and also save.  You can get a part time job and still manage school rather well.  I did and I don’t consider myself a prodigy in the least.  It truly helped to not only lessen the financial burden, but it also taught me the valuable lesson of responsibility while juggling multiple jobs at once.

5. Buy your textbooks on the cheap.  Either find a friend who doesn’t need their textbook anymore or go to an online site like half.com or textbooks.com.  The latter site even allows you to rent textbooks out!   Never, and I mean never, purchase your textbooks at your campus bookstore.  You will always be price gouged and it is always cheaper to buy used.  Also, when you’re done with your book for the semester or quarter, simply resell them!  

These five tips are relatively simple to achieve.  With a little ingenuity and sacrifice you too can be on your way to a debt free college experience.  You simply have to want it.  You also must be willing to put up with some of the inconveniences that may arise while trying to live a frugal lifestyle.

It just depends on how badly you want it.  It isn’t easy, but most things in this life that are worth it never are! 

Do you have any tips you can add to help ease the financial burden while in college?  Please share!

This is a guest post by Hannah @ Preciously Preserved. If you’re interested in guest posting please read our guest posting policy and then contact us.


  1. # 1 and # 3 are the easy big wins that are easy to ignore but also easy to implement!

  2. Sam, yes! I know. Not to mention people don’t want to have to live with their parents…not the coolest thing to do in the world…but definitely frugal! 🙂

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